A lot of times, the actual end user’s experience when using a new website or product is ignored by company executives and business owners. They think they know how their customers use the web and are often surprised (after conducting heatmap studies or other user experience testing) to find that visitors are using their website entirely differently than they’d expected.

I’ve put together 3 different points based on a set or single studies done using heatmaps on a website, showing you some examples of user experience:

Summaries are Better Than Full Articles in Blog Structures

A study done on the difference of blog structure found that article summaries on the blog homepage (linked to the full article) will entice your visitors more than displaying the full length blog article on the home page.

The study found that if you have a blog with full articles on the homepage, there’s a greater chance of disinteresting the user. The user will “use up” their interest after skimming the first article, and don’t show a pattern of going through all the articles.

Using summaries instead of full articles on your blog homepage is ideal because they allow you to expose the users to a wider selection of topics. This increases the chance that they’ll find something of value (what they’re looking for) and decreases the risk of having them not find the content that pertains to them and leaving your site.

Photos Get Your Visitors to Pay Attention

Humans are visual creatures, and well-selected images have been a focal point for web design since the dawn of the internet.

People respond well to images of real people. In a set of eye tracking studies conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, two key findings were made:

  1. Some types of pictures (generic stock photos, for example) are often ignored. This is typically associated with photos that have no purpose other than being decorative.
  2. Photos of products and real people are treated as important content, and are often scrutinized. One test subject spent 10% more time viewing just the photos of employees, rather than reading any of the content on the web page.

The lesson? Whenever possible, use authentic photos to showcase your brand and website, rather than using generic stock photography.

Above the Fold Does Matter—But People Do Scroll

It’s been a hot debate about whether or not the “above-the-fold” concept still applies to web design. While most studies indicate that people do scroll on the web, they still spend approximately 80% of their time focusing on content above the fold.

The exact breakdown was:

Above the Fold: 80.3% of their time

Below the fold: 19.7% of their time

User attention decreases when they get below the fold — the further your content is from the header, the less attention your visitor has in reading it. Ensure that the most important information is at the top of the page.

In the same study, the viewing time actually increased significantly at the very bottom of the web page. The lesson? Inserting a good call-to-action at the end of the webpage can drive up conversions.